Day off in Polanco

February 8, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Hey there from Houston. I’m hanging out at an airport restaurant and in about an hour I’ll board the plane to Northwest Arkansas! IMG_3177This morning, I got to the airport in Mexico City very early. I anticipated traffic on the way to the airport, but there was none and it took only twenty minutes to get there. The ride from the airport to the hotel on Friday was about an hour.

IMG_3142Yesterday was a great day off in Mexico City. I slept late and then took a walk around Polanco, the area around my hotel. Polanco is fancy, clean, and relatively safe. I had a cappuccino at a coffee shop and started a new book. Then I went to an electronics store to purchase a much needed battery charger for my phone. IMG_3141For a kind of brunch, I ate a quesadilla from a stand at an awesome outdoor weekend market in Parque Lincoln and drank fresh orange juice.

Satisfied from breakfast and full of energy, I rented a bike and explored Chapultepec park. I had planned to bike to the Chapultepec castle but missed it, and that’s okay. It’s pretty big but somehow I missed it. I’ll just have to come back. IMG_3147 (2)I returned the bike and explored more of Polanco on foot. I stopped to do some shopping because I passed one of my favorite stores that they don’t have in Boston, and because the dollar is pretty strong right now.

After the shopping, I had a michelada and ceviche at an outdoors bar. I met a father and son who were from Puerto Rico and living here in Mexico City for four years. IMG_3153The dad seemed less than thrilled about the length of his assignment.

In the evening, I went out to a mezcaleria to learn about and drink some mezcal. Most mezcal is made in the Mexican state of Oaxaca (pronounced “wahaka”). I learned that it’s made the same way as tequila but with a different agave. There are many different types of agave. IMG_3164Tequila is made from blue agave. Mezcal is made from the other agaves. Mezcal generally has a smoky flavor, but there are of course a ton of different varieties of Mezcal. It seems as though tequila is just one of the kinds of Mezcal. Generally, the alcohol content in tequila is slightly less than the alcohol content in Mezcal but just by a few percentage points, and of course this varies between brands. IMG_3172I’m not sure why tequila became a super popular type of alcohol while mescal remains more exotic and less widely available, at least in the US. Apparently exports are increasing. Mezcal is usually consumed straight and NOT put in cocktails. The bars I’ve been to have clearly been doing it wrong.

IMG_3143At the mezcaleria, I tried three different kinds of Mezcal all with a distinct flavor and ate a traditional Oaxacan dish that used the same ingredients that you would probably expect in Mexican food but in a slightly different format. It was delicious… you can’t really go wrong with melted cheese, beans, peppers, and avocado. After a short walk, I had an espresso back at the hotel and played computer for the rest of the night. All in all it was a great, relaxing day.

Arkansas should be interesting… ! I hope you had a nice weekend and for those in Boston, good luck with the snow.

Love, Annie

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